Readers' letters: Underbelly should not run Christmas Market

While I appreciate that the Covid-19 pandemic has caused massive levels of commercial and emotional anguish to the majority of our country, it beggars belief that Edinburgh Council would even consider allowing Underbelly to run a Christmas Market in Edinburgh.

Friday, 24th September 2021, 7:00 am
The Scottish capital's hugely popular Christmas Market pictured in 2019

The council have obviously ignored the devastation caused to our gardens during the last Christmas Market, the numerous and loud criticism by residents and visitors of both the prices being charged and the lack of local businesses, the complete ignoring of previously agreed positioning of the Christmas Market and the unacceptable number and density of the stalls

It would appear (News, September 22) that the physical and financial damage caused directly and indirectly by Underbelly does not preclude them from doing it all again.

Having repeatedly rendered East Princes Street Gardens unusable for months at a time, it seems, is not be seen as a reason to stop them again organising a Christmas Market that will cause further major disruption and damage to our capital city.

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That alone is reason enough for Edinburgh Council to resist Underbelly and their Christmas Market proposals.

Mr K Clark, Edinburgh.

Housing emergency demands action now

News that 300,000 people in Scotland are unable to their pay rent or mortgage is extremely unsettling.

Losing your home is always an emergency and we must prepare for the tsunami of evictions which are inevitable as the additional protections for tenants, introduced in response to the pandemic, expire. Tenants across the country are building up unmanageable arrears and are clearly in need of support.

The Scottish government must act now to avoid this situation getting any worse. Thousands of families and individuals urgently need the tenant grant to help them get out of debt, and keep the roof over their heads, especially at a time when the £20 cut to Universal Credit and a likely energy price hike are about to bite.

The coronavirus pandemic has shown that good housing is a matter of life and death. But we must not forget that Scotland had a housing emergency before the pandemic hit. With thousands of people losing their jobs and many battling with rent arrears, we need action to make sure this economic crisis doesn’t deepen our housing emergency.

Alison Watson, Director, Shelter Scotland, Edinburgh.

Is it time to start fracking for gas?

Would we be so vulnerable to surging international gas prices and the threatened food shortages, if we were fracking for our own gas? Many former coalfield areas in Scotland and elsewhere in Britain are suitable for this.

The closure of two fertiliser plants in the North of England owing to high gas prices has led to shortages of carbon dioxide and fears that food shortages may follow. The gas is used, among other things, to stun animals prior to slaughter and for food preservation. This is a clear illustration of why reliable cheap plentiful energy is a necessity not a luxury.

The joint policy of the Tories at Westminster and the SNP at Holyrood to decarbonise our economy is a recipe for cold homes, closed businesses and national economic collapse. It must be replaced by a policy of securing cheap, plentiful and round the clock supplies of electricity and gas. Encouraging onshore fracking would be a good start.

Otto Inglis, Crossgates, Fife.